Author Archives: Bruce Robinson

Social Media Doesn’t Trump Direct Marketing: What the Rule of 40-40-20 Means for Orchestra Marketers in 2010

In the 60s direct marketing expert Ed Mayer popularized the 40-40-20 rule. He claimed 40% of a mailpiece’s success depended on the list, 40% depended on the offer and 20% depended on other factors including design. Check the Numbers Yourself … Continue reading

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How to Cut—and When to Add—Orchestra Marketing Dollars

The Danger of Across-the-Board Cuts Over the last two years virtually all orchestras have cut spending to balance the budget. In many cases they’ve used across-the-board reductions. This can have the negative effect of further reducing ticket revenues by more … Continue reading

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A Map of Social Media for Orchestras

I’ve put together a diagram of the social technology landscape designed with orchestras in mind. If you work at an orchestra or other performing arts group, leave your name and address below and I’ll send you a poster free of … Continue reading

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Why Everything’s Fine in Classical Music. Including the Pain.

[This was originally posted at the League of American Orchestra’s microsite, R/Evolution, before the June 2010 League Conference in Atlanta] Everything’s Fine Everything’s fine in classical music. Let’s celebrate today’s terrific musicians, the best ever. Professional music-making isn’t a cushioned … Continue reading

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The Third Reason Orchestra Marketing Is Difficult: Multiple Work Styles

In previous posts I identified two  ways in which orchestra marketing is unusually challenging. First, the discipline involves a wide range of functions. Second, the job demands managing a year-long subscription campaign at the same time it requires numerous in-and-out … Continue reading

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Charlene Li’s Upcoming “Open Leadership” Can Teach Orchestras How to Manage Social Media

Charlene Li sent me an advance copy of Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, to be released May 24. Thank you, Charlene. In 2008 Li co-authored Groundswell, which illustrates the nature and power of the … Continue reading

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Reason 2 That Orchestra Marketing Is So Difficult: Dual Periodicity

Orchestra marketing demands two sets of complex skills related to the marketing cycle. We manage a series of seasonal promotions. And we manage an annual campaign. Simultaneously. In-and-Out Promotions Think of the seasonal aisles in your local drug store. At … Continue reading

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Reason 1 of 3 That Orchestra Marketing Is So Difficult

When I entered orchestra marketing I thought turning sales results upward would be easy. After all, I’d succeeded over many years in many businesses. And in that work and in my schooling I’d benefited from wonderful mentors. Surely the practice … Continue reading

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How Orchestra Marketers Can Reduce Agency Costs

Since the 2008 crash virtually every orchestra has reduced its marketing expenses by cutting back advertising, mailings or people. Sadly, that also cuts sales. But there are other ways to save. You can reduce your agency’s time and billings through … Continue reading

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What the Dalai Lama Can Teach Orchestras About Direct Mail

The Dalai Lama wrote me. He called me a dear friend. The Classic Direct Mail Package His letter is part of a classic direct mail package without a brochure on behalf of the International Campaign for Tibet. It turns out … Continue reading

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Traditional Marketing Never Existed. Long Live Innovation

Today I heard a panel of three industry experts discuss the future of interactive marketing.* At that event several audience questions compared interactive marketing to traditional marketing. The traditional marketing they defined lives only in a Second Life. It lives … Continue reading

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How Steve Cook Grew Dallas Symphony’s Sales to an All-Time High–in 2009

In 2009 the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s ticket revenue hit $11 million, eclipsing its previous all-time high of 2008. Over the four years of Steve Cook’s work there as Chief Marketing and Entertainment Officer total sales increased by 33%. Classical single … Continue reading

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Three Social Media Lessons from “Groundswell” for Orchestra Marketers

A few days ago I finished reading Charlene Li’s and Josh Bernoff’s terrific Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, published by Harvard Business Press in 2008. That’s old by social media standards, isn’t it? Yet Groundswell’s insights remain … Continue reading

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A Pentagram of Photographs: How to Choose Musician Images in Orchestra Marketing

Market research tells us that concert audiences connect and identify with orchestra musicians, guest artists and conductors. So selecting and cropping photos professionally for ads and brochures sells tickets. Here are five considerations to apply when reviewing musician images. What … Continue reading

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An Element of Marketing Strategy: What Not to Do

In the last 24 hours I’ve talked to one mid-sized orchestra which just cut four positions. Another has only a part-time marketer. Meanwhile marketers are bombarded with “shoulds” from the board, president, audience members, fellow marketers, vendors and friends. We … Continue reading

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Ten Great Marketer-Musicians

I assembled a list of ten musicians who market themselves beautifully. I realized in the process how this became a list of great musicians regardless of marketing. The Gustavo Dudamel / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Walt Disney Concert Hall / … Continue reading

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DCM’s Phil Miller Reinvents the Phone

When I sat down with Phil Miller a few days ago I expected to talk about the future of the telephone in orchestra marketing. Phil is President of DCM, which provides telemarketing, telefundraising and inbound sales services to orchestras, theaters, … Continue reading

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Forty Years Ago We Marketed Webern

Forty years ago the Cincinnati Symphony and Decca Records marketed Webern’s Passacaglia, Mennin’s Canto, William Schuman’s Tripych and the Dallapiccola Variations as orchestral showpieces. And the orchestra performed them as showpieces, too, with that most mainstream of conductors, Max Rudolf. … Continue reading

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When Orchestras Emulate Madoff

Every year one or two orchestras make news by closing their doors. They cancel the rest of the season. There’s no money for creditors. Tickets for future concerts become worthless. It’s rare that it’s an orderly process. May that never … Continue reading

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How the Orchestra Marketer Can Choose Target Segments

We can integrate consumer marketing and orchestra marketing language with a unified view of market segments. That puts us in position to select target segments and to allocate resources to marketing tasks. How Does It All Fit Together? When I … Continue reading

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